Terence Edward Hall, singer and songwriter, born on March 19th, 1959; died December 18th, 2022
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Terry Hall, the former lead singer of The Specials. Hall passed away on December 18th, 2022 at the age of 63.
Hall was born in Coventry, England, and rose to fame as the lead singer of The Specials, a pioneering band in the ska and two-tone genres. The Specials were formed in 1977 and quickly gained a following with their unique blend of ska, punk, and reggae.
The Specials were known for their energetic live performances and socially conscious lyrics, which often addressed issues such as racism, poverty, and politics. They combined elements of ska, punk, and reggae to create a unique sound that helped to define the two-tone genre.
The band achieved massive success in the late 1970s and early 1980s with hits such as “Ghost Town,” “Too Much Too Young,” and “The Lunatics (Have Taken Over the Asylum).” Their original incarnation achieved seven consecutive top 10 singles in the U.K. charts between 1979 and 1981. Their albums The Specials, released in 1979 (and produced by Elvis Costello) and More Specials (1980) are considered classic works of the ska and two-tone genres.
Hall was known for his distinctive voice and famously deadpan style, and his contributions to The Specials’ music helped to shape the sound of a generation. The Specials disbanded in 1981 when vocalists Terry Hall and Neville Staples, along with guitarist Lynval Golding left the band to form Fun Boy Three.
Hall continued to perform and record music as a solo artist and as a member of various bands and projects. He released several successful solo albums, including Home (1994) and Laugh (1997), and worked with artists such as Damon Albarn, the Lightning Seeds, and Sinéad O’Connor.
During COVID lockdowns Hall decided to record an album of covers, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. Titled Protest Songs (2021), it featured new versions of “Bob Marley’s Get Up, Stand Up”, and The Staples Singers’ “Freedom Highway” among others. The album charted at number two, marking Hall’s final appearance in the Top 75 an appropriate capstone for a legacy of thoughtful and inspiring music that inspired social consciousness in the British public.
In addition to his vast musical accomplishments, Hall was also known for his philanthropy and humanitarian efforts. He supported a number of charitable causes, including the fight against AIDS and the promotion of human rights.
Hall will be remembered as a talented and influential musician, and his contributions to the world of music will not be forgotten. Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and loved ones during this difficult time.
Hall is survived by his wife, the director Lindy Heymann. They had one son, while Hall has two older sons with his ex-wife, Jeanette Hall.
The Specials – Ghost Town
Reaction the news of Terry Halls’ passing:
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing, following a brief illness, of Terry, our beautiful friend, brother and one of the most brilliant singers, songwriters and lyricists this country has ever produced. (1/4) pic.twitter.com/qJHsI1oTwp— The Specials (@thespecials) December 19, 2022
The Specials were a celebration of how British culture was envigorated by Caribbean immigration but the onstage demenour of their lead singer was a reminder that they were in the serious business of challenging our perception of who we were in the late 1970s. RIP Terry Hall pic.twitter.com/PVwbXyXubq— Billy Bragg (@billybragg) December 19, 2022